'I'm out of my comfort zone but I like to be out of my comfort zone' - Aidan Gillen on duet with Camille O'Sullivan for Rock Against Homelessness
Camille O'Sullivan headlines Rock Against Homelessness at the Olympia Theatre on Tuesday April 23
Aidan Gillen has revealed he is ‘not too terrified’ about performing a duet with partner Camille O’Sullivan on stage at the Olympia Theatre.
Although the Game of Thrones star is best known for his acting work on the big and small screen in everything from The Wire to Peaky Blinders to Bohemian Rhapsody, he’s making a tentative foray into the world of music - all in the name of charity.
Camille and her band are headlining the Rock Against Homelessness concert at the Olympia on Tuesday, April 23, which will raise funds for, and awareness of, homeless charity Focus Ireland.
Also on the bill are Finbar Furey, Deirdre O’Kane, Tommy Fleming, Duke Special, The Celtic Tenors, Jerry Fish and Pat McCabe, and Aidan will join Camille on stage for a special performance of Roy Orbison’s ‘In Dreams’.
The song was one they already loved, as they both adore David Lynch’s Blue Velvet in which it was immortalized, and it was the song they chose to sing together at Aidan’s recent 50th birthday.
“I didn’t really have too many qualms about singing it at the birthday party and that went fine,” Aidan tells Independent.ie.
“Singing in front of a big audience? I’ve done it with Camille once before at a Bowie night in Aberdeen last year. In fact it was a very similar theatre to the Olympia and it was full, just as we hope the Olympia will be full next Tuesday.”
He admits he’s “not too terrified” although singing is something of a departure for him after more than three decades on screen.
“I’m out of my comfort zone but I like to be out of my comfort zone and I prefer to be out of my comfort zone for this to work,” he says. “That’s not to say it’s going to go well or anything like that but if you want to witness a disaster...!” he laughs.
As well as the birthday bash and the performance in Aberdeen, the couple performed the song recently on The Ray D’Arcy Show on RTE One. Camille says she was “so proud” of her partner for performing on live TV.
“For me, as a singer, I find it quite terrifying to sing live so I couldn’t imagine what it was like for Aidan,” she says. “I appreciate he’s a more reserved person and keeps to himself so I appreciated when it was suggested to do it that he went for it.”
Camille and Aidan have also recorded the song and it is currently on sale on vinyl and iTunes with all proceeds also going to Focus Ireland. Recorded in Dublin’s Windmill Lane Studios it was produced and mixed by John Reynolds and Chris Pemberton.
This foray into music, however, does not signal a change in career direction for Aidan, who says it’s simply a “special occasion”. He says, “I’ll leave that to the professionals. There’s enough singers out there without putting myself on the circuit!”
All joking aside, it’s clear the issue of homelessness is one about which they are both extremely concerned and eager to contribute to raising funds and awareness for Focus Ireland, however they can. “If I could do a handstand and backflips I’d be doing it for them,” says Camille, who admits she feels “helpless” when it comes to solving the issue.
Aidan adds, “It’s probably inevitable that post-crash, and given that we have a housing crisis and a rental market crisis that homelessness is getting worse. It really is worse than ever.
“There’s a 100 per cent increase in homeless families recorded in the last two years which I guess is a result of the economic downturn combined with the lack of rental properties, the lack of available social housing, the lack of government investment in social housing and increased demand for places most people can’t afford.”
While the Irish people are “really good at charity”, he says, the government needs to “do more” and not rely on charities to provide the main support networks for those affected. “There are very simple, practical things that could be happening in this country with rent control, landlord watchdogs, just a greater support system,” he says.
Camille bemoans the disappearance of the community; “I grew up in a village and even when I first moved up to Dublin you really knew what people were doing around you and you took care of those close,” she says. “The world we live in now it’s what you’re doing yourself and your nearby family.”
With Camille touring at the moment and Aidan gearing up to spend the remainder of the year filming the second series of Project Blue Book in Vancouver, Rock Against Homelessness is a rare public appearance together.
They recently attended the premiere of the eighth and final series of Game of Thrones in Belfast together. Aidan’s character Petyr Baelish was killed off in season seven so he is watching the final six episodes unfold like any other viewer.
“I’m clueless,” he says of who will claim the Iron Throne. “There’s 10/1 on Paddy Power or William Hill on Petyr Baelish being the ultimate victor in Game of Thrones. What’s that about?”
He adds, “To be able to finish this off at all is going to be quite a task. I don’t doubt they can do it in some style and some surprising and stunning fashion so let’s hope that’s what happens.”
While he describes the first episode as “great”, he adds that “first episodes of a new season are always as much about reminding you of what the story is, particularly after an almost two year break and that’s always the way they are.”
Camille admits she does not watch it “all the time” so the first episode round-up of reunions and reminders was good for her; “I went, okay, fair enough, but you know I had to keep quiet not to get on anybody’s nerves asking questions!” she laughs.
Limited tickets (€35 from Ticketmaster) remain for Rock Against Homelessness at the Olympia Theatre on Tuesday April 23 in aid of Focus Ireland.